Women are more than Equal.

It’s been a really hard past couple of weeks for me. My mom who had been helping me with the baby during the day has started back up teaching for the fall. Now I am left to figure out what to do with this squirmy, drooling, teething little old man who has an unhealthy obsession with his mama while also needing to be bringing in half the bacon.

Women’s Equality Day…yay working moms!

Now debating what my options are- who is left to suffer? Is it my job as a mother, my job as a business owner, or am I ultimately the one who is suffering? Currently, I am doing my best to keep up with the first two- and now I *AM* the one who is suffering. I am not taking care of myself because I have business and a baby to take care of. Every second I am with my son, I am guilty that I am not working- and when I am working, I feel guilty for not giving 100% attention to my son, now if I take time for exercise or ‘me time’- who’s time am I taking for that?

After a long talk with the husband in bed about my struggles and fears about putting our first and only in ‘duh duh duuuhhh—daycare’ (all I can think about is a swarm of peanut-butter faced toddlers bullying my sweet angel, I know- I’m crazy). He will never know how I really feel no matter how well I try to explain it. “Like, imagine you are doing your current job in 8 hour shifts- then all of the sudden someone says, ‘you need to do the same work, but I want you to do it in 12x twenty minute increments while someone is yelling.'” That’s the best I can explain it. Oh, but then on top of that- you need to add breastfeeding and GUILT.

Being a working mother is SO HARD.

I now look at how many working mothers there are (oh my, and SINGLE WORKING MOTHERS- like my Mama) who are so amazing. After seeing all of these “Women’s Equality Day” posts on Facebook tonight, for some reason I felt the need to spew some of my own word vomit in recognition of so many incredible women are out there making their mark. Even though we have been fighting to get women to an ‘equal’ status, they deserve SO MUCH MORE than that.

In my struggle, I really celebrate all of the strong working mothers who are role models for me in these times of weakness.

Benson Ross…our everything.

Our baby boy is born. I am in so much aww and wonder when I look at him every day- the past 2.5 weeks have already gone by so quickly, and I find myself grasping onto every single moment… My tiny, sweet, new baby is getting bigger and has more personality every day.  I am so overwhelmed by the love that I feel for him and my husband. Our new little family means more to me than I ever would have been able to imagine! My boys…my everything. It is so hard to be a mother, and I am so humbled by how truly wonderful it is.

I have been hesitating to write this post, partially because my birth story is still upsetting to me, but mostly because I am trying to savor every second that Benson and I have together, and taking time away from him to be on my computer feels like such a waste. I thought I would love to be all open and honest about my birth story- especially since I was so honest about how much I “loooooooved” being pregnant, but I still don’t feel up to it. But I do have some photos that are close to my heart (thank you Frannie), and they remind me of what an incredible husband I have. Going through this painful labor reiterates the best choice I have made in my whole life- marrying my husband. I am so incredibly lucky to have such an incredible partner and I can’t believe that my body (MY BODY!!) actually grew this beautiful little love of mine….wow.

Welcoming Benson Ross Schoener: born 11.30.14 at 3:12 am, 8 lbs, 20.5 inches, and perfect.

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Because my baby is a trendsetter.

I feel like everyday for the past couple weeks, I wake up and think- “I should really write a blog post today” but then it follows with a “ughhhhhhhhhh I feel sooooo awful and I have so much more important things to get done before baby boy gets here!” Well today is the day that I am going to put my foot down, because at 38 weeks- we are getting awfully close to having our worlds rocked, and I feel like I am on a cruel roller coaster of time travel. Some weeks seem to last centuries and others fly by- but the truth is, this little boy could decide to come ANY time (although my doctor loves to tell me how 1st babies like to come a week late…which is really mean to say, true or not!).


Okay so here we go: I can’t even remember where I left off with my sad excuse for blogging this pregnancy. Let me start off by telling you that I am realizing that my body was not made for pregnancy. I know I know, it technically “WAS”- but honestly, I have had probably every possible pregnancy punishment you could possibly have while maintaining what would be called a “normal” pregnancy. I am so thankful and lucky to be healthy and for our baby boy to be healthy (thank God!) even if it means that I have hated my life for at least 75% of this 9 month journey. Each symptom outweighs the next, and I have to ask myself “Was this worse than that…? yes and no. Would I rather not be able to walk due to debilitating back pain, or would I rather aspirate on my own stomach acid in the middle of the night because of severe acid reflux? Would I rather have nausea or a cold that is now going on 4 weeks? Who doesn’t like lung compression that leaves them gasping and panicking for air on a daily basis? How ’bout swelling that leaves you wrestling any of the pairs of shoes you already bought a size bigger, and then taking them off at the end of the day to reveal shoe-shaped indentations that resemble play-dough? My newest adventure is a blanket of sore, purple stretchmarks that cover 90% of the skin the entire length of my stomach (and a belly-ring scar that has expanded like the words on a Happy Birthday balloon)—I am beginning to think that this baby boy is going to bypass the whole “vaginal delivery” thing and burst out of the skin on my stomach like the Kool-Aid Man! But, in all fairness- I really do take him for a trendsetter, although it may result in my immediate death.

Speaking of death. I know, “stoppit” right? But seriously, when I am going through my insane thoughts of childbirth, I think: “what if I don’t make it?” So morbid, but it does happen. I am thinking- “hopefully Matt was listening during all of our childcare classes”, and “what is Frannie going to do about the wedding show? and will my clients ever get their wedding album, hopefully they remind her?” Then I go back to wanting this baby to stay in, although I am nervous that the longer he stays- the more likely for the Kool Aid Man scenario mentioned above.


I thought babies were supposed to have less vigorous movement as they are more confined in the womb—my baby says: “bullshit, I’ll make room!” as he extends what could only be described as the body part of a small man straight out…and I feel like I am ripping from the inside out as I scream into what has to be his butt (he is head down at this point) to leave me alone! I am over it. I asked for this.


NOW that I have talked pretty much anyone out of ever trying “pregnancy”–let me give you the silver lining:Processed with VSCOcam with t1 preset

No matter how awful I am feeling, when I feel my little guy (when he isn’t hurting me) wiggling in my belly, I am SO obsessed with him. I have no idea what he looks like, or if he will be a “good baby,” but he is the best parts of me and the one person that I chose to love most in this world- and I honestly can’t think of anything better than that. When I am getting down about my wrecked body, or panicking about how I can’t sleep of breathe- I remember that it is all for him, and I am SOOO lucky to have the most amazing husband who loves me more because of it. I know there aren’t many who are as lucky as I.  IMG_6159

“Why am I awake?” and other stories about my life…

Every night of the third trimester has been a total mystery to me. It seems that it doesn’t matter how truly exhausted I am, I wake up every 2-3 hours (like clockwork) with an insane urge to pee (which is usually like a tablespoon worth), heartburn, extreme thirst, and loss of breath. Whether I am able to go back to sleep is a complete gamble. Unfortunately tonight seems to be one of those nights. After trying to fall back asleep for the past hour, I guess I will chalk it up to an even 3 hours of sleep total and hope that I have better luck tomorrow night.


Yep, 7 months…not 9


I swear, when I feel like nothing more can surprise me with the public and this pregnancy, I am blown away again. It’s incredible how people act like they wonder how I left the house in my condition, yet it is never those people who offer to do anything nice either. I am fine with no one offering to get me a glass of water or a place to sit down- but perhaps you can leave all your shitty manners where they came from when you are telling me that you are surprised I am functioning at all. Let’s just act like I am “normal” if you can’t refrain from scaring me about childbirth or reminding me how hard it is to shoot weddings at 7 months…deal?

Recently, I had a conversation with a lady guest at a wedding that has been on my mind and I have to share–

Just doing my job, I walk up to a lady probably in her early 30s holding a newborn baby boy and ask her if I can take their picture. I ask questions about the little guy and find out quickly that she isn’t the mother and is holding the baby for a friend. From there, the conversation shifted to her asking how far along I am in my pregnancy.

Me:Seven months
Her: oh! So you are going to pop any day now!?
Me: No, not really…still have to let him cook for TWO MORE MONTHS. (lady must be drunk…)
Her: Well, let me tell you something, don’t take this the wrong way- I can say this because I am a mother.
But you look READY! I mean, you look like he is ready to come out any day.

Me: Well, I hope not because he isn’t done growing, but thank you.
Her: Do you have a name yet?
Me: Not quite decided yet- but we still have TWO MONTHS LEFT
Her: well you should name him “David”- I always thought it was a great name.
Me: ok………….well if I name him David, I will definitely accredit you.
Her: Aww! You don’t have to!
Me: -polite laugh- okay, I am going to get back to my job now…

I am not kidding. And why didn’t I ever think of a unique name like “David”? Lady obviously knows her shit, and since she is a mother- she has the right to say whatever she wants about other people’s motherhood.

I keep laughing about this- had to share. I think I am just going to start telling people that I’m not pregnant at all.

year. two.



Today is our two-year wedding anniversary and week 30 of pregnancy.

5 years altogether invested in the most incredible man that I could have ever wished for myself.

I am going to try and keep this post short and sweet because I am running on three collaborative sleep hours from last night, and my fingers are so swollen- its really uncomfortable to type. Plus, Matthew already gets so much praise on this blog, I’d hate for it to go to his head!

When I was planning my wedding, I wanted to have a keepsake left over as something that would commemorate all the hard work and love that went into the day, so I decided to use a lot of mixed fabrics for my table runners that I had the intention to making into a quilt later on (plus, I am thrifty- and couldn’t stand the idea of buying fabric to go to waste!). Not only does this quilt remind me of our wedding, but it was tied with two of the most beautiful and outstanding women I know: my mom, Natalie and my grandma Sharon. The quilt then stayed on our bed for a year after and I can’t wait to use it to snuggle with our new baby boy!


I really just can’t believe our far we have come, what we have gone through, and the amazingly imperfect perfect life we have built. I am so proud of our relationship and the wonderful man that my husband is. He has so much love to give, and I can’t wait to fall even more in love with him when I see him hold our son for the first time. I really feel like every decision I have made in my life has lead me to find him, and I feel so fortunate that I didn’t settle or give up before I did.

Matt, thank you for making everyday “Super Day”–you are my very best friend and life partner, and I can’t wait for MANY MANY MANY more years together!


Nichole + Matt Wedding Film from Second Mile Weddings on Vimeo.

A little video we made in McCall last year for our first anniversary.

My Body is Not My Own.


Coming up on week 30 of my pregnancy next week, it is incredible to me that I have made it this far. I have gone through a whirlwind of emotion with carrying this baby up to this point. I am feeling overwhelming joy and excitement, and all in all- I am just ready for this little guy to be here…but then not ready at all.

First Trimester- pure exhaustion and sickness, body is changing, just feeling “fat”, keeping secrets, feeling afraid of NOT being pregnant. I still feel like this stage was definitely the most horrible. There is nothing like feeling like you no longer know yourself, but you reap no reward or satisfaction in knowing that your baby is “ok” or that you are even doing anything right. You know nothing about your baby at this point–and you just pray to make it to each weekly milestone.

Second Trimester- I have to agree that the second trimester is definitely the best. People tell you that, and I know everyone is different. But for me: sickness went away, I actually had a little bump to show off, motivation and energy happens, and the best part- you get to know the gender, you see your little one’s face, and you feel like you get to “know” this little person just a little more each and every day. And there is something about feeling somewhat “adorable” with a round bump that still can be dressed in the latest fashions.

Third Trimester- Mind you, I am only in week 2 of the third trimester. Although the countdown is “on”, I still have quite a ways to go (11 weeks)! At this point, I am just freaking out about everything I don’t have…yet I somehow feel prepared? The funny (and frustrating) thing is just having zero control over anything. I am getting really anxious to see him- will he look like me, or Matt? Will he have hair? Will he like to snuggle? You know, all those images of “you having your own child -one day-” is no longer a day far in the future. It feels like the only thing I have control over is the “stuff”— What kind of baby carrier do I want? Should I just order a stroller or wait for my shower? Glass bottles or plastic? Where do I hang all this stuff on the walls of the nursery? The damn crib sheet I ordered is on back-order until November…time to panic!

Now, my body…what no one tells you, or maybe they do and I chose not to listen, is that in the third trimester- by consenting to “being pregnant” you have now agreed to submit your body as public domain. Not only do you no longer look or feel like yourself, you also get increasingly uncomfortable every single day. Those kicks that you used to long to feel, get annoying. Your toes may resemble sausage-in-a-can (the can being ANY shoes, really) and swelling continues to go up the cankles and all the way to your face- depending on the day. Bending over or getting out of the couch causes shortness of breath and a feeling of defeat. Consistent heartburn. Can’t sleep. Finding ANYTHING to wear is success, actually trying to look like a “with-it” human being feels impossible. I felt like almost immediately at week 27 that my previous feeling of “pathetically adorable” has now just reached “pathetically defeated.”

Immediately following my own self-loathing was a slew of unwanted comments about how “huge” I look. Although I am usually a person with fairly high self-esteem, I have to say in defense of my fellow preggo lady folk- please be aware of what you are saying to people. As someone who has struggled with my weight just as a normal person- I have noticed that people feel like they can tell you how fat you used to look AFTER you have lost weight. I was once told that I lost a “TON OF WEIGHT” by someone who thought they were complimenting me after a 15lb weightloss. I think about this when people are telling me now that I am going to have a HUGE baby and that they can’t believe I have such a long ways to go with my pregnancy. There is something about “well you don’t look like that anymore” or “pregnancy is a temporary state, so we can say whatever we want”–what you don’t realize is already what a struggle it has been getting this far. But what I really think about when people are judging my HUGE baby when I am only 29 weeks along, is that you are truly judging the size of my body. The average baby at this point would only be about 2.5-3lbs, and between now and my due date, my baby will TRIPLE in weight. Yes, I know that there is also a lot more than just baby going on in there between placenta, fluids, swelling, etc. But do you? I very well may have a 10lb baby…or I might have a 6lb one- in which case, I want you to remember when you blatantly told me how huge I looked.

But-the flip side- and I know this is something that even I have to work on. I also have a lot of pregnant friends who don’t show as much with their pregnancies. Although I look at them in envy, hearing how upset some have gotten about comments on how they “don’t even look pregnant” or assumptions that their babies are undersized or malnourished can be equally upsetting. Commenting on how small a pregnant woman is can also feel defeating (although I would not know that personally… *wink wink*) Like I said, it is hard not to compare myself to these friends and be envious of their smaller bumps and lack of swollen everything. But I have to remember myself that pregnancy is so different for everyone.

On a positive note- we are nearing the end of wedding season, and new ventures are keeping me busy and making the weeks fly by. Soon enough, our little guy will be out and a part of our lives…and I won’t have to be pregnant anymore! (and hopefully Land of Nod will ship my crib sheet before then…)

Quick but Forever…

26 weeks this week- crazy to think how quickly our little guy will be here (14ish weeks-wahh!?) …but at the same time, it feels like forever away! And according to nearly everyone who asks my due date- it might as well be.

Just so you know- it is so incredibly rude to shriek with horror that I still have 3 months to go… I know, I look like whale, I can see it all over your face. In case you were wondering, my Dr says my weight gain is on point, and I don’t give a shit that you couldn’t tell you were pregnant at 6 months with your kids.

THAT being said: I would totally be okay with not being pregnant anymore. Walking (waddling) a little slower than usual and trying to shove my pudgy, swollen feet into nearly any pair of shoes I own, I could certainly go another day without. But as I sit here in the tub (feet above the heart, people), my little alien is going crazy in there. Squirming around and karate-kicking me like Kung Foo Panda; it is pretty nuts to think about all the amazing things that my poor, tired, manatee body is capable of.

Another thing about pregnancy (or my pregnancy) there is something about knowing you are declining considerably in the ‘looks’ category, but somehow still feeling beautiful and special. So lucky for my husband who always makes me feel like I am ‘hot’ even when both of us know my stretch pants are nearing their max-stretch…”there is no baby in your ass ma’am.”

Super weird and constantly contradictory– this crazy journey.

I love you Matt.

Making positives in negative spaces

This has been a post that I have been debating about writing for the past year. Its one of those things that will always have a place in my mind and my heart, and I guess it has taken this long for me to realize that maybe there is someone out there who might need to hear my story. But more importantly, it has taken this long for me to feel positively about it.

Last July (2013), I found out that I was pregnant. After months of trying- we were completely overjoyed to find out that it was finally our turn! With a due date to look forward to in March 2014, I felt like things were FINALLY going my way after obsessing over the months that nothing was happening. Plus, taking my career so seriously as a wedding photographer- our ‘trying’ window had to coincide with wedding season…which added an extra pressure to sprint to the win. So when I didn’t get pregnant right away, I started to obsess.

With my new embryo on board- I was thrilled, but I feel like there was always something a little ‘off’ about it. Besides tender boobs and some cramping, I really had almost zero symptoms of ‘being pregnant’. I think that coming from a place of pessimistic obsession and checking ‘getting pregnant’ off my list- looking back, I am not sure I was really in right place to take on motherhood. I actually felt anger and jealousy of nearly everyone on my Facebook feed that were popping up as (seemingly effortlessly) pregnant all over the place. And, I WAS pregnant. I got what I wanted, and I was still spiteful and jealous. I wasn’t myself.



August 14, 2013


During our months of trying, I actually started a One Line a Day Journal which I feel was my saving grace to keeping myself honest. Essentially, the way the journal works is for you to make a small journal entry (5 lines or so) a day, each page is it’s own day. When you get to the end of your year, you repeat the days that you had written on previously the year before. When we were trying to get pregnant, I would jot my disappointment with the idea that by the time I was writing in those future slots- I would have my child, and think of my impatience as silly.

On August 15th 2013 I made an entry- “I don’t even feel pregnant anymore. It is like it was all a dream…” and on August 21st, I started bleeding.

During all of this, I needed a little more than a line- so I typed a document on my computer,

here are the writings:




After a spat of bleedings, yesterday Matt and I went into the doctor to see what could be wrong with our baby. Since the nurse asked my blood type over the phone before scheduling my rush appointment, I knew there was something seriously wrong. According to my pregnancy tracker, I was 9 weeks pregnant the day I started bleeding. 

Sitting in the doctors office with my husband, we were snickering about the horrible maroon-floral chints decor of the waiting room and Matt even made a comment about all of the “fat chicks” referring all of the big-bellied expecting ladies waiting for their checkups, he always knows how to make me smile. Laughing lightly in the moment, even though my heart was heavy and my eyes were still filled with tears. 

They brought us in for our internal ultrasound. It felt unfortunate that this is how we would see our baby for the first time, premature of our appointment we were joyfully awaiting to come the following Monday. This was different, this wasn’t how I’d hope it would go. Holding Matt’s hand tightly, I couldn’t help but look away from the screen. My occasional peek lead to me seeing a tiny little baby outline. After we both stared at the still little outline, Matt says “What exactly are we looking at here?” When our tech replied, “Well, that is a baby- but it doesn’t look like we have a heartbeat today.”

With tears streaming down my face, I feel like I just sort of left the room mentally. She explained that the baby was only 6.5 weeks developed, which means it probably passed about 2.5 weeks ago. This wasn’t how I would have hoped I’d see our first baby for the first time. 

As I sobbed in Matt’s arms about the baby we never really knew, but wanted for so long- he was strong, strong for me. Which almost made it worse, because I know how badly he wants to be a daddy. 

After receiving a prescription to make the “passing” of the fetus go by quicker, I am waiting…waiting in horrible pain for my little angel to leave my body. I am so scared of what I will see and I can’t wait for it to be over. 

During all of this, I feel so blessed to have such an amazing partner. Not everyone is so strong and supportive. He is positive that when it actually happens to us for real, it will be better than ever. And I love him for that. 


Day 4 since we found out our little one doesn’t have a heartbeat. It has been absolute torment thinking about when it will leave my body. I am in pure agony physically and emotionally. Yesterday I was working shooting a wedding, I feel blessed that it didn’t happen then- but living on the edge as to when this will be surprising me is awful. I can’t wait for all of this to be over and for us to be able to go on living our lives that we love. Today I have had non-stop sharp cramping and bleeding, maybe this will be the time? I hope. 

I keep thinking about how I will deal with it when it happens, but I guess it is something I won’t know til it happens. I think I would like to bury our baby somewhere in our yard. 

Whenever I look out at our gardens, I think about when I first planted. It felt like the plants would never grow even though I was nurturing them relentlessly. As soon as I knew it, I got so busy with life that I left everything alone. Now all of our plants are so large and bountiful I can’t believe how quickly it seems they grew when it felt like they started at a standstill…. One day I will have my healthy baby, and it will seem like no time at all, even though we got a slow start. So, I think I will plant our little seedling in our yard to remind me how much we loved our little baby even though it wasn’t ready to be on this earth. 


Today I started cramping with the sharpest most horrendous pain I have ever experienced. After a couple of hours of barely bearing it, I finally gave in and called my doctor.  I was honestly worried that my neighbors might call the cops since I couldn’t stop screaming. I was praying for anything to make it stop. 

My mom went to pick up a prescription my doctor called in for the pain. By the time she arrived, I was laying on the bathroom floor nearly passed out from the amount of blood I lost and my body felt exhausted from the pain of the contractions. I have honestly never felt worse in my life, and my poor mother had to see me like that on her birthday. 

With the pain meds in my system, I was finally able to relax have some dinner that Matt made for me. Shortly after, the baby finally passed. I wrapped it in some fabric from our wedding and put it in a small box. Matt dug a hole under our purple locust and we buried our little dream. Honestly, I just feel relief…relief of this nightmare. We are ready for the future.


After not seeing those for a year- I am, of course, sobbing my face off, but I am SO glad that I wrote it down. It was such an important time in Matt and my relationship and in our lives.

After another failed (very early) pregnancy later that November, I realized it just wasn’t our year- and it was time to start trying again in February. The time between felt long and sad. I felt jealousy towards anyone experiencing the life they chose, since my planned path was NOT going the way that I thought it would. Yet, I was feeling guilty for feeling anything. Especially after seeing a friend lose her baby before 30 weeks around the same time as my first miscarriage. Why did I have a right to feel anger? My experience is nothing compared to others’! My journal kept me honest…and the blank years to come kept me hopeful.

After what I could easily say, was the most difficult year of my life- I decided that it was okay to let myself be happy again. I was allowed to feel happy for other people, and I was allowed to let it go and start over.

A few days after I got to witness the birth of my best friend’s baby boy, I found out that I was pregnant. And I knew right away that it was different. Of course I was scared (and still am, every day) that something would happen to my little miracle- but I felt happy.


August 16, 2014

Now that I am sitting here typing all this nearly a year later, looking out the window at our purple locust that has grown HUGE and I am feeling my baby boy kick me from inside. Already 14 inches and 2 lbs at 25 weeks, I feel blessed every day that I am able to be a happier mama for him- now that I know why everything happened the way it did.


This is OUR time.



You’re Glowing.

At some point I may go back on these words, but I have to say that at 20 weeks of my pregnancy that I am really finally starting to feel like myself…better even. Just sweatier, but I think that’s called “the glow?”

As someone who has been trying to get pregnant for a quite awhile, and became almost obsessed with the task (okay, actually because obsessed) it weighed very hard on me that I really wasn’t enjoying my pregnancy. It almost makes you feel guilty that you don’t feel good- and as a busy working woman, it is REALLY hard to carry on acting like you are at 100% when you feel like you might die. I kept telling myself in agony, “this is worth it, this is for my baby, you wanted this- remember?” And from the morning sickness that lasted until 6:00 pm (that can only be described as your worst hangover and most painful day of your period mixed together) to the awful back pain that would leave me crippled on the floor sobbing, to the horrific insomnia…I didn’t “love” being pregnant, and I felt guilty for that.

Now I am finally starting to remember what it felt like to be “normal.” Sure, I have a belly in the way- and my ankles hurt more often, but I feel like “me.” My husband thinks I am sexy, and somehow I FEEL sexy. And I definitely LOOK pregnant, which makes me feel like people understand and can sympathize when I might be having an “off” day. (I really think that is one of the worst things about the first trimester- feeling like shit and not feeling like you have an excuse for it since you don’t LOOK pregnant, and often times people still don’t even know you ARE pregnant!)

I am in the beginnings of feeling our little guy move around. I can only describe the feeling as “muscle twitches” sort of- and when I put any pressure with my hands- it feels like something is certainly squirming around in there! Woah- that’s my kid! Seems crazy that he is just a sweet little banana that will one day be raising all sorts of hell (if he is anything like his father).  I really can’t wait to meet him!



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